Indoor basics sell your home
You probably clean your house when you are expecting company, so why wouldn’t you have it super-clean when you’re trying to sell it. Here is my list of top-secret indoor basics with tips and advice for cleaning your home to maximize your home selling potential. Once it’s clean, make sure to keep it that way. You never know when someone will want to see it!
Spring cleaning is not a season on the calendar for home sellers. It is a concept for cleaning and organizing the home with a “take no prisoners” approach. I am often perplexed that home sellers procrastinate about cleaning their homes when they have to clean it anyway when they move. Go ahead and tackle the cleaning now so you can reap maximum benefits while SELLING YOUR HOME.
Getting organized is a huge first step in getting your home ready to sell. De-cluttering the home will make all the spaces, particularly the storage spaces, look bigger. You don’t want to pay a mover to haul all those things to your new home! Have a garage sale, post a listing on Craigslist, do a good deed for someone in need by giving your items to charity or give stuff away to friends and family. Just get rid of all that clutter. Home buyers do not want to feel like they are filming an episode of “Hoarders” when they walk through your house.
Clean air is critical to selling a home and is the number one complaint I receive when I ask for feedback from home showings. You probably don’t notice any peculiar odors in your home even though it may be obvious to visitors. Determine the source of any odors and eliminate their cause. Be particularly wary of kitty litter boxes, dog beds, and mildew. Unleash the power of chemicals. DO NOT cover-up or mask odors, eliminate them.
One of the best things home sellers can do is clean the windows. The most desired compliment from real estate agents showing your home is that it has “lots of natural light”. Wash all the windows in the house, inside and out. Cleaning window sills, jambs, and blinds. Pull down window coverings and blinds that are aged and worn. A naked window is better for home showings than a closed blind or pulled curtains.
Flooring is a hot button for home buyers and you need to “floor” them. Carpets are a challenge in my marketplace as home buyers strongly prefer hardwood floors. If you have worn carpets they need to be replaced. I have affordable contractor recommendations that will save you a bundle. If you carpets are newer you should have them professionally cleaned. If you have carpet on top of hardwood floors, consider pulling up the carpet and having the hardwood floors exposed. There are cleaning solutions for hardwood floors and polish compounds that make old wood floors really shine, eliminating the need to refinish in some cases. I particularly like the Bona products for hardwood floors. Vinyl floors need to be cleaned and waxed.
“Un-furnish” your home so that rooms are free of furniture clutter when home buyers walk through on showings. It will be temporarily inconvenient but you should keep the best looking pieces out and put excess and shabby furniture in the garage, basement, or in an affordable temporary storage unit.
Lighten up and put fresh and bright bulbs in every socket. Replace a couple of your shabbiest looking light fixtures. Go to Lowes and check out the sale table for a modern look. Call me for an affordable electrician who works for under $100 on most visits. Keep things bright and cheery by opening up all the drapes, blinds and shades during the day even if you are not in a regular habit of doing so. Your home will be more appealing to buyers when flooded with natural light.
Home sellers need to get the kitchen “Health Department” clean. Keep surfaces and appliances spotless. Clean the oven and range, replacing the drip pans under the burners (line them with fresh aluminum foil in a crunch). Don’t forget to clean around the door seal to the dishwasher. Yes, home buyers will open the fridge to take a look so throw away the old containers and wipe everything down.
Remove everything from your kitchen countertops and then think about what you need for the next couple of months. You expand your counter space by de-cluttering your countertops. Remove toasters, can openers, radios, coffee pots, and any other appliances. Make it look like you have miles of counter space ready to use. Do not put the huge microwave oven back on the kitchen counter. Learn to live without it for a couple of months. Maybe put the coffeepot back on the counter but everything else needs to GO!
Bathrooms are the “coal mine canaries” of the house cleaning world. Bathrooms tell the home buyer what to expect about the maintenance of your home. Clean sparkling baths equals great home maintenance and higher sales price. Don’t forget the bathrooms. The number one task for most of us is cleaning the tile grout. You are going to have to use chemicals like Tilex and acid to clean the worst offenders. I have a super contractor who does nothing but clean tile and grout if the task is bigger than you can handle. Bath tubs, showers, and sinks should be freshly caulked. Grout should be clean and in good condition. Repair faucet leaks and running toilets.
Make sure to hang fresh towels in the bathrooms and buy a new shower curtain if yours is stained or mildewed. Pull all your makeup, soap containers, mirrors, hair brushes, teeth cleaning apparatus etc off the countertop, and keep it off.
Last on the list is to clean and organize your closets. Closets should look as if they have room to hold additional items. Box up off-season clothes and get rid of anything you’ve been holding on to for too long. Do the other tasks first and hold this one until the end.
Need help cleaning your house? You are not alone and I have some great recommendations for house cleaners who specialize in getting homes ready to be listed for sale.